Monday, October 25, 2010

Family Pictures

 When I would visit my dad's folks I would often stop in my great-grandmother's kitchen to stare at the wall.  My grandfather had put our family tree on the wall using photographs. 
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Grandma and her uncle
 I could trace my grandfather's side back to his grandparents and great-grandparents.
  My grandmother's side was represented as well.  I could look at pictures of my grandmother when she was six and her thick, naturally wavy, chestnut-red hair went to her shoulders.  Even in a black and white picture it was obvious that her hair was red.  I inherited her red hair, as did my dad, and three of her great-grandsons.  

I loved looking at those photos on Grandpa's wall, it gave me a sense of belonging.  I was a part of something that was bigger than me, something that came before me and would continue after me.  
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My grandfather was the family historian, not just through photography, but with the written word.  He wrote his family's history on an old Smith typewriter, pasting the stories into photo albums.  I would spend hours looking through these books, trying to understand who was connected to whom and how did they connect to me.
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Great-great-great-grandma

Over the years I have collected copies of my family photographs.  I now have my great-grandmother and her sister, my great-grandparents', and a picture of my great-great-great-grandmother on what was probably her 80th 
birthday.   

I have new photos too.  Photos of Arliss and Travis through the years, photos of my husband and me when we got engaged.  Photos of my husband with his recently found, biological family. 
All of these different pictures, with so many different generations hang on our walls.  I love the history they represent, the rich tapestry that I am a part of; that Arliss and Travis are a part of too.  
Someday, when I am only a photograph on someone's wall, I hope my great-grandchildren will look at my face and see the similarities we have, maybe even the red hair.  But I also hope my great-grandchildren will see his or her history, his or her part in the bigger picture, and that they too will smile and know they belong.


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